…over stashing ‘signing bonus’ from public
The buck stops at the head and the revelation that the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition Administration secretly accepted and stashed billions in a private account, unknown to the Guyanese public, is “downright criminal, immoral and unethical” – a matter that requires the attention and full-fledged investigation by the Guyana Police Force.
Economic Advisor to the Opposition Leader, Dr Peter Ramsaroop, laid the damning charges on Tuesday during an interview with this news entity, suggesting that the only way for Head of State David Granger to regain even a minutia of credibility, is to immediately fire the Ministers of Finance and Natural Resources, Winston Jordan and Raphael Trotman.
He told this publication that both Ministers should be placed before the courts over the flagrant violation of Guyana’s supreme law, the Constitution.
The financial analyst pointed to Article 216 of the Guyana Constitution which dictates that all public revenue be placed in the Consolidated Fund with the exception being where a specific law allows for the money to be placed in a special account.
“None of this happened, there is no law as yet for the receipt of monies from Guyana’s oil revenues, we keep hearing of Sovereign Wealth Fund but we are yet to see any legislative instruments to give effect…this is all downright criminal,” according to Dr Ramsaroop.
He said “the growing list of scandals and downright corrupt practices of this PNC-led Government is enough for the people of this country to stand up and demand their removal from office even before 2020.”
According to Dr Ramsaroop, democratic norms dictate that “we await general elections in 2020 but with this Government’s machinations at the Guyana Elections Commission along with its penchant for spending taxpayers’ dollars in secret, one need not leave to the imagination their intentions for revenues to be had from Guyana’s oil and gas sector.”
The economic advisor suggested that this could very well be the motivation behind the Speaker of the National Assembly’s biased and most revealing ruling in the House thus far.
Dr Ramsaroop was at the time drawing reference to the expulsion of People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Member of Parliament Juan Edghill.
According to the advisor, while the Speaker is within his right to suspend any member of the House, his reasons are suspect.
“All the Opposition wanted was more time to scrutinise the spending by the most bloated Ministry in Government, the Ministry of the Presidency,” he posited.
According to Dr Ramsaroop, the ruckus that was created and fuelled further by the Speaker’s intransigence was just another attempt to “pull wool over the eyes of the Guyanese people.”
The economic advisor to the Opposition Leader maintains that “the only reason the Speaker gave instructions which implied calling in the Police was meant to serve as a distraction.”
He told this publication “this Government is fully aware that a great many Guyanese can be easily distracted by sensational news.” Dr Ramsaroop told this online publication it is no coincidence that the ruckus created in Parliament on Monday occurred as the Opposition was preparing to scrutinise the money it has in its allocations for 2018 and the fact that it received $3.6 billion would have no doubt been under intense probity.
“They did not want this…had that information never been leaked, this country would have been none the wiser and the apologists instead of confronting the issue and at the very least call on Government to apologise to this nation have instead resorted to distractions.”
The economic advisor told this publication that he will be pushing the PPP to file private criminal charges against Ministers Jordan and Trotman.
“The Speaker is supposed to protect the interest of all elected representatives especially those that form the minority in a National Assembly but in this case we have a Speaker who is openly biased against the PPP and has in fact clearly demonstrated that he will use his office to further the agenda of the PNC-led Granger Government.”
According to Dr Ramsaroop, “we will have to go to the courts but even there we have some reservations as a result of the slothfulness of the system and the fact that Judges are now being handpicked.”
The economic advisor told INews that “the future of this country is literally at stake here.”
Drawing reference to the Guyanese adage “you don’t put cat to watch milk”, Dr Ramsaroop said it is time a mostly docile population come to the realisation that the country is at a turning point in its history – a turning point that will require competent and honest leadership.
“Guyanese people are not fools,” he said and pointed to the fact that several Government spokespersons in recent years have repeatedly accused the PPP Administration of corrupt practices but after audit after audit costing taxpayers’ millions of dollars the Administration is yet to have one allegation of corrupt PPP officials being successfully prosecuted.”
He noted that in contrast, the David Granger Administration has been racking up scandal after scandal – scandals that the supporters of the APNU/AFC are now openly complaining over.
“These people have already demonstrated an authoritarian approach in its management of this country and the fact that they have now begun secretly accessing money from Guyana’s oil reserve should serve to wake up Guyanese people.”
He concluded his scathing criticism of the coalition Administration’s handling of the signing bonus saying, “imagine we haven’t even started to produce oil as yet but this Government has already begun hiding from the Guyanese people, revenues it has begun receiving for the national patrimony.”
Dr Ramsaroop was adamant “this Government cannot be trusted to steer us into an oil economy.”